Kimmelot German Shepherds
Raising superior German Shepherds for over 30 years
Dawn Dalyce is the owner of Kimmelot German Shepherds. She was very gracious in agreeing to this interview. Please enjoy!
Martin: How long have you been a breeder of German Shepherds?
Dawn: It’s been over 30 years, and that’s really dating myself isn’t it? I guess that it’s been that long, since I was young, and wanted a German Shepherd Dog to be the brother I never had, and my best friend.
Martin: Why have you selected the German Shepherd Dog breed as your choice of breeding dog?
Dawn: I earned the money to purchase my first dog, by working for a trainer/ importer who supplied German Shepherd dogs to police officers. I was a lonely only child, so buying a German Shepherd Dog of my own, was the closest thing to having a brother. I was 14 years old, and my first German Shepherd, learned about a sixty word vocabulary. He was Lassie, and Rin Tin Tin, all rolled into one. He did everything from carry my purchases (including meat) home from the grocery store, without me; to apprehension and tracking work. He found and cornered a burglar that the squads couldn’t find, in our neighbors yard. The neighbors owned the car dealership, their jewelry was recovered; and I became hooked on the value of the contribution a German Shepherd could make to law enforcement.
I married at 16, and my first husband, Dave, made me sell my first dog, because Baron hated him. Baron got a great home, and I got German Shepherd puppy number two, after dumping husband number one. My next dog Midnight, was an amazing working /show quality black dog, that got the attention of our local police department. I was working as a police cadet in the summer, and the officers allowed me to train my dog along side the working K9’s. My dog was excellent, and they asked me to breed him, so that they could acquire puppies, as the police K9’s were in short supply. I did a sire service to an officer’s female, and was paid by keeping pick male. I raised and trained Bairn (for baby Black Bear) for 2 years, before the police department begged me out of him. He worked for them an amazing 11 years.
I bought a female to breed, with husband Gene Kimmel, and Kimmelot was born. In 7 generations, I captured the look, the intelligence, the confidence, and the character, as well as the beauty, that we are famous for. I guess, that means, that I didn’t choose to breed, it was my calling.
Martin: How do you select your breeding stock from among your dogs?
Dawn: That is not a question that can be answered in a sentence. Of course I choose what I think is pick female or two, as keepers from a litter, to see how they’ll grow up, but there are so many qualities I consider, it would take a book to explain it all. I personally hold character, calmness, confidence, and intelligence in very high regard. I also consider beauty, conformation, gait, willingness, bone, heartiness, hip ratings, coat , color and other traits. I also consider what I know is in the genetics, because I know what my lines will produce. I care about top line, noble head and features, angulation, croup , stance and presence. I have to know that my dog will be sensible and devoted, and safe around my family. If they have the traits of common sense, love, devotion, and loyalty, they will produce dogs that will be cherished in other people’s families too. Kimmelot dogs are famous, because they are cherished. When I am told over and over, that the puppy I created, turned out to be the best dog that people have ever owned, in decades of owning dogs, I know that what I’ve worked for, is a success.
Martin: Of those dogs active in your breeding program, do you have multiple sires and dams, or just one pair?
Dawn: On average we have 2 sires, and 4 or 5 dams. Plus dogs we’ve sold that we retain stud rights on, and females we’ve sold with a puppy back for the future. It takes that many, to be able to adjust our breeding program, to know we have the best for the next generation.
Martin: How many German Shepherds do you currently have at your kennel, and are there more bitches than males?
Dawn: Currently 2 sires, and 5 dams. Two of the females are young show girls we plan to show before breeding, and one of the boys is just getting old enough to breed. We keep our own female tail line, so we know what is in the genetics, and we buy the best male we can find, in any country, for each new generation.
Martin: Are your dogs kenneled, or are they “free roaming”?
Dawn: Our dogs have 5 acres to run on, but are kenneled and allowed out for running play time, in social play groups. Our kennels are 20 x 10 and the dogs all have a companion to play with in their kennel. Our dogs also go to school events, and camping trips, have time in the house, and go on other routine trips and errands, or along with horseback riding trips, each in their turn. Our German Shepherds have little jobs to do like bringing in the newspaper, or babysitting, or rounding up horses , goats or cows. They also have their training sessions, and grooming attention. Our dogs also enjoy taking turns being on guard, to be sure that the family isn’t invaded at night.
Martin: What’s feeding time like at your kennel? Do the dogs get fed at intervals, or is there a mass feeding?
Dawn: Our dogs are free fed, Life’s Abundance Holistic dog food. The best that money can buy. Their dishes are filled up daily with just a little bit more than they will eat in one day. That way, they nibble, and don’t get over filled, and in danger of bloat, by eating too much at one time.
Martin: Are the puppies separated from the other dogs? And when are they integrated into your “pack”?
Dawn: Our puppies tend to all disappear the day they turn 8 weeks old. If we have keeper puppies longer, they are allowed to socialize with the bigger dogs, only while supervised, so they don’t become over submissive. Keeper puppies are kenneled with either young puppies who are around the same status and personality, or with a kind adult of the opposite sex. We keep puppies with their moms, to 6 weeks old, then move them to the kitchen and kitchen garden, where they are socialized with the children, and their litter, and just nursed occasionally by their mom who returns to nurse and play a couple of times a day.
We start teaching the puppies to be part of the human “pack” from birth on, by kissing them, cuddling them, bringing them into the noisy house, and around the TV and household sounds, plus feeding them, breathing in their faces, placing them on different surfaces, and clipping their nails, doing weekly wormings, and in general, doing a good amount of handling of them, as tiny whelps. By 6 weeks old we have them following us on little walks, and used to being played with by small children.
Martin: What do you feed your dogs and why?
Dawn: We feed Life’s Abundance Holistic Dog food, because it’s far superior in quality and quality control, to other brands. Life’s Abundance doesn’t contain grains like corn , wheat, rice or soy, only quality meats and brown rice, a more digestible grass. It does contain grape seed extract, 60 mg per 4 ounces of kibble, an excellent antioxidant, and it also contains enzymes and superior protein. Store brands are often a year old before you buy it, and 110 “super premium” brands have been recalled due to contamination with deadly substances. Tens of thousands of dogs and cats have died, from the store brand foods, they were fed by loving owners. Our dogs glow, and have great hip ratings, and produce big litters of huge healthy puppies on this food. The dogs love their food, eat less, and have smaller stools. We get our food from www.healthypetnet.com/whisper and you can too.
Martin: How often do you introduce “new bloodlines” into your stock?
Dawn: We get a new male for every generation of our female tail line, and usually have a second male growing into a sire, at the same time, so we can see which matches make the superior cross. This also gives us a sire to service the daughters of the other male, if people want to bring them back to us for breeding. Not every male makes the cut and stays with us. We only breed dogs that produce puppies that make us proud, and their buyers thrilled.
Martin: Do you specialize in “working lines”, “show lines”, or both?
Dawn: How about neither? We specialize in producing very impressive, confident, healthy, intelligent, loving and devoted dogs, with lower levels of activity, drives, and relentlessness. We breed from show lines that are blended from German Seiger working Schutzhund titled show dogs, and American Grand Victor Champion and Select Champion show lines. We find the purified working lines to be too hard natured, too needy, too drivey and too relentless for the average family to have time to maintain properly. We find the purified show dogs to be weak in character, lacking in confidence, unwilling to work, and often emotionally unstable. We have found in breeding either pure German lines or pure American lines, that there is a large increase in genetic defects, probably due to heavy line or in breeding in either country. Blending gives us a wider gene pool, fewer genetic defects, and more of the old fashioned, ideal conformation, and less of the current fad traits that tend to weaken the breed.
Martin: What is your interview process like for perspective new dog buyers?
Dawn: I like to get them started talking about their lives, their current and past dogs, their families, their lifestyle and their plans and goals for their dogs. Then I ask questions and make suggestions to see how coachable they are. I find it very very important to match the dogs personality, and ability traits with the owner, and we won’t sell someone a puppy that is not a fit. We also won’t sell a puppy into a home that is not a good fit for a German Shepherd. German Shepherds need leadership, love, exercise, some independence, education, and an interesting life with someone who loves and appreciates them, and allows them to live to their potential. Don’t we all?
Martin: What is, in your professional experience, the most demanding part of being a GSD breeder?
Dawn: You give up your job to be home with your dogs and puppies full time. You give up your marriage if your spouse doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices it takes to breed the quality the future will benefit from. You spend all your time, energy and money. You give up having an immaculate house, or being very organized because it’s more important to spend time with and socialize your dogs. You give up vacations, have to move away from neighbors who don’t like dogs, and your brain is so full of pedigrees, that you can’t remember your grand children’s birthday’s.
Still, the most demanding part of being a breeder, is dealing with the humans. Buyers can be neurotic, spoil their puppies rotten then be frantic about why they misbehave, or negligent and have to be removed from their puppies lives, or so responsible they want to double check every decision with you. Other breeders can be jealous and competitive, or self rightous and condescending. Family members often don’t pull their weight, and many people think that their opinion is something you need or want. Past buyers and other breeders, expect you to be on call for free advice at all hours of the day and night. Wonderful buyers become lifelong friends, and other breeders, become close confidants because noone else really understands, why you work so hard to improve a breed. Breeding quality dogs is it’s own reward. This is a hobby that you don’t plan to start, it’s more of a calling that you answer.
Martin: Do you ship your dogs domestically, internationally, both, or not at all?
Dawn: We ship puppies or dogs, mostly toy breed show dogs, all around the world. Most of our German Shepherds stay in the United States.
Martin: Why do you breed German Shepherd Dogs?
Dawn: We breed German Shepherd dogs because we love them. They are the most devoted, versatile, intelligent, intuitive of dogs. They’re more noble than other breeds. They’re nicer and more dependable than people.
Martin: On behalf of myself, GermanShepherd-Breed.org, and our readers…Thanks Dawn!
Dawn Dalyce, Kimmelot German Shepherds